You must first discover your tech stack to maximise its value

A Digital Adoption Platform can show you what you've got
Vivek Behl
Vivek Bell

As digital transformation accelerates across industries, digital adoption – the process of ensuring employees and others understand and fully use the digital tools at their disposal – has reached a tipping point. According to Gartner, by 2025, 70% of organisations will use Digital Adoption Platforms (DAPs) across their technology stacks to improve user experience and maximise the value of their software investments.

Digital adoption can help drive staff productivity, improve user experience, and ensure expensive tech investments generate their full value. In many ways, it’s a win-win proposition – improving users’ day-to-day experience while bolstering businesses’ bottom lines.

Yet for enterprises looking to invest in the right digital adoption strategy,  the question becomes: how can they actually drive digital adoption? What are the first steps to maximising both return on investment, and staff productivity?

The surprisingly hidden state of your tech stack

The investment in digital adoption will only accelerate. According to WalkMe’s 2022-2023 State Of Digital Adoption report, 67% of companies are under extreme pressure to accelerate digital transformation – and digital adoption is an essential ingredient to supporting this.

The issue is that many businesses don’t know where to start. They don't know where employees are having problems using business applications, or the true ROI of the tech investments they’ve already made.

In a high number of cases, businesses don’t even know what tech they have. The same report found that the average large enterprise (with 10,000 staff or more) is only aware of 49% of the apps they’re currently running.  

Discovering the exact nature of their technology stack, and how it’s used, is a crucial first step to maximising ROI.  Which specific applications and software do employees use? Are end users relying on certain apps, and neglecting another? If so, why? What specific pain points are they encountering during their day-to-day workflows?

Discovering how business applications are really being used

Gaining visibility over your entire tech stack might sound intimidating. To large businesses who have digitalised rapidly, it might sound like mapping out a jungle: an impossible task. Streamlining the digital sprawl might sound doubly daunting.

But the technology to gain this visibility does exist. By adding a Digital Adoption Platform (DAP)  on top of their existing software, businesses can gain click-by-click data on how their staff use software, at the application, department and user level. DAPs also provide customised user guidance and automation across applications and workflows so that employees have built-in support when and where they need it.

This level of insight is crucial, because it helps businesses answer the questions above. For example, a business can now discover that the shiny new software they implemented may actually be poorly understood, and therefore underutilised, even increasing the time employees take to complete routine tasks.

Previously, businesses may only have had basic info about how often users logged into apps. Although this tells businesses whether apps are used, it doesn’t offer any insight into how they’re used. For example, are staff truly confident when – and competent at – using the applications necessary to do their best work? Is the software making workers more efficient or enabling a better user experience, or is it just adding more red tape to business processes? Could user pain points be solved with on-screen guidance or automation or perhaps the functionality of or within a particular platform is redundant?

One reply here might be that employees struggling with a particular app, or not using it, would inform their bosses. But this isn’t necessarily the case. Take the documented phenomenon of ‘tech shame’, where Generation Z-aged staff feel embarrassed whenever they can’t use a particular business app. This embarrassment arises because they think staff from older generations will presume them – indeed, expect them – to be tech savvy.

This same reluctance to speak up might manifest in staff from previous generations, too, albeit for different reasons. For instance, employees returning to work after retirement or parental leave may feel pressure to reintegrate seamlessly into the workplace, adapting to any new software their employer has bought. It hardly paints a rosy picture when, across the pond, 91% of Generation X and Baby Boomer workers admit to having felt “overwhelmed” by workplace tech. Sometimes the digital friction of working with so many distinct and complex workplace applications can cause ‘software paralysis’, a state in which productivity and morale are negatively impacted.

Employers must take on the responsibility of providing not only software to their employees, but the necessary guidance and support to help staff do their best work – regardless of their digital dexterity.

Improving digital adoption and maximising the value of one’s entire software stack will soon become an essential goal for most enterprises, as they take stock of the many digital investments made rapidly in the pandemic years. Organisations should focus on discovering what’s really under the hood inside their software stack before they make any further moves, keeping employee experience front-and-centre while they optimise their software stacks for maximum value.

Written by
Vivek Behl
Written by
September 22, 2023